Tips for visiting Pandora : The World of Avatar
Pandora is new, as it just opened on May 27th. This one is most important to remember because everyone wants to see and do it all too. There’s no need to be rude to other guests just because you’re having to wait. This should go without saying, but everyone has paid to be there and no one is more special than the other. You’ll all get a turn soon enough! This extends to Cast Members too because they’re working hard to make it an unforgettable experience for you. Sit back and enjoy knowing that it may take a little longer if you’re one of the first humans to visit Pandora.
Do Not Miss Flight of Passage
Queue up for this attraction as early as possible so that you can experience the wait queue at least once. The fastpass queue doesn’t have any of the fun theming that the standby queue has and it’s worth the wait at least once. The standby queue is the only time you’ll get to see the Pandoran caves with wildlife and all of the experiments that the Pandoran Conservation Initiative scientists have ongoing. This includes everything from water samples and small creatures to the full-size and very life-like floating avatar in its liquid-filled chamber. This is also the only time you’ll be able to see the giant wall that has the mural of the flying banshee and the life-size silhouettes of a Na’vi male and female.
Then gear up for a most fantastical journey into Pandora on the back of your very own banshee after being paired with an avatar and linked in the link chairs. It’s also good to know that some Pooh-sized guests may have a bit of trouble boarding the ride since the back and leg braces flip up to engage. Be sure to scoot as far forward as possible and sit straight up. You’ll also want to push your knees forward and stay on your tip-toes until the ride harnesses engage in case you have long legs or large calves. Then hold on tight for one of the most thrilling and amazing rides Disney has ever imagineered! This ride is breathtaking, well except for when you’re taking in all the smells that Pandora has to offer too. This ride cannot be skipped!
Use Extra Magic Hours
Extra magic hours are a perk of staying in a Disney resort and can help you experience the parks without the massive crowds. Check the app the night before your park days to see which parks and hours have this special perk so you can plan accordingly. Some magic hours occur in the morning, so you’ll need to be prepared the night before. Additionally, some magic hours happen at night and nighttime magic hours in Animal Kingdom will allow you to travel back to Pandora so you can experience its glowing beauty.
Schedule FastPasses ASAP
Scheduling early is a huge perk for guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort and this one is huge. If you’d like a fastpass for either ride, scheduling your fastpass at 60 days out the second they become available is crucial. And it’s good to know that the Pandora rides are now part of a tiered Animal Kingdom fastpass+ system, so you’ll have to choose one or the other. Both wait queues have outdoor areas and that means waiting in the sun, so a fastpass is like having a VIP status! Just remember that only guests staying in a WDW resort can schedule fastpasses 60 days in advance. If you’re staying off-property or are an annual passholder, the earliest you can schedule a fastpass is 30 days out. It pays to stay on property!
Stop and Look
The Na’vi have a phrase “oel ngati kameie” meaning “I see you” and you won’t want to miss seeing and actually taking in all of its beauty. You’ll especially want to take your time and look if you’re waiting in line for either of Pandora’s feature attractions. The world is beautifully themed throughout and there are many little nooks where you can rest or just relax in a bit of shade. You can even find plants to drum on!
If you’re lucky, or smart because you checked your times guide for the day, you can watch an authentic Pandoran drum circle in front of the Mountains! You can watch my the live feed I provided on opening day over on our facebook page. Travel back to Pandora (or just stay til the sun sets) to experience all of Pandora’s nighttime wonder. The star of Pandora’s nighttime magic is its “syuratan” or bioluminescence. You’ll be surprised that you may even glow too!!
Make use of Memory Maker
This should go without saying if you’ve ever used Disney’s Memory Maker. If you’re not sure what Memory Maker is, be sure to read this post. Like most lands at Walt Disney World, Pandora also has several photopass locations where you can get an epic photo with the floating mountains or even have your photo taken as an official Visitor to Pandora! There’s several locations and you can find these stops in your app. Simply open up your My Disney Experience app and slide the selection over to PhotoPass to see all the locations.
Order Food Via App
This is another big one! With the opening of Pandora and its dining option, Satu’li Canteen, Disney has begun implementing its first use of a mobile food order feature. By ordering food via the app, you’ll save loads of time and give your feet a break from standing in yet another wait line. Not to mention, you’ll feel like a VIP as you stroll past the wait line straight to the counter to pick up your food. You can order from the app under the “My Plans” section. And once it’s ready, it’ll give you a push notification to let you know that your food is waiting for you.
Be sure your app is updated to the most current version to access this feature. It’s also good to know that if you have a card saved for all your incidentals (dining reservations etc), your app will automatically process the payment from that card. So if you plan to order from the app, be sure to have a card on file to save yourself time while in the park inputting card information. It’s also good to know that mobile order pickup will allow you entry into the canteen even if there’s a cast member outside keeping track of guest numbers inside. Just show them your “Order Ready” screen and they’ll show you where to go!
Visit Windtraders Early
The grand opening day of Pandora brought wait times in excess of three hours just to gain access to the Pandoran store! And be sure to queue up for the adopt a banshee at the rookery while there! Adopting a banshee has been super popular, so again be patient if you’re in a longer than expected line.
You can also have yourself scanned and your DNA combined with that of a Na’vi to create your very own Avatar! This experience however, takes time and you will need to revisit Windtraders around an hour later to pick up your avatar.
It’s good to know that your card (they give you when you sign up) will allow you entrance back into the store even if there’s a wait line. Simply go to the door and let the cast member know you’re back to pick up your avatar. You may get some dirty looks from those waiting in line to go in, but you won’t have to wait to actually go in again.
More than Just Rides and Food
Disney has gone above and beyond to create a world that seamlessly fits within the Animal Kingdom’s nature-based story. And Pandora: The World of Avatar helps to further push us to see our own beautiful Earth in new ways. Personally, our ride aboard the Kilimanjaro Safaris, after experiencing Pandora, had me more closely examining the plant life that surrounds each habitat’s wildlife. How amazing our own world is!
The food had me questioning what exactly should alien food look like?! And would our own everyday foods seem alien to the Omiticaya people or other alien beings? Additionally, you don’t have to have seen or liked the Avatar movie to appreciate this new land. My kids loved Pandora and have never seen the movie. They actually came home and used their own money to purchase the movie so they could see the movie based on their unique experience. This new land is more than a couple of rides and some weird food; It’s an experience that leaves you “newomum nì’ul,” wanting to know more!
Extra Tips for those with Special Accommodations:
Make Use of Rider Swap
If you’ve got a child that isn’t tall enough or just doesn’t want to ride, you can make use of Disney’s rider swap which allows one parent to stay behind with a child(ren) while the other parents waits in the standby line. The cast members will give the first parent a rider swap return fastpass and once that first parent completes their ride, the second is able to go back through the fastpass line. Best yet, that second parent can be accompanied by two other people, so your other kids have the opportunity to ride twice by waiting in the standby line with the first parent and then again in the fastpass line with the second parent!
Make Use of Disability Access Service
If you or a member of your travel party has a disability, be sure to stop by guest services at the beginning of your stay to receive your disability access service card, or DAS for short. This card will allow you to avoid waiting in the actual queue while still waiting the standby wait time. Simply see a cast member at the fastpass entrance to any attraction and tell them you’d like to get a DAS wait time and they’ll give you a time to come back and ride. This is especially beneficial as some of the wait queues can be difficult to navigate with a wheelchair or ECV. And not waiting in the line for Flight of Passage will allow you more time to explore Pandora while you wait for your ride time.
If you’d like to find out more about the world of Avatar, be sure to check out the official Disney website here.